Case study: Album design + context + music video

Music has been known to elicit radical political movements (Balliger, 1995) and discuss moral issues, especially in this case for instance the design of the album cover is emulated through the music video, lyrics and context (Dube,1990). Dude’s music video paradoxically called “Prison” depicts a young student exhibiting antisocial behaviour, nudged into a future already associated with race, looks and age. Not only was Dube’s album design striking because it shows the artist with his hands tied together with rope, but it also displays a small emblem of the Pan African flag. He represents his culture with three little stars overplayed on a background of a militant green. Dube is known for his parody of his own uniformed military and the connection can be clear as we can even identify the artists brand from this colour.

With regards to his music video, Dube uses a lot of covert colour to subtle connote themes and symbolism. The use of a pink sky at various points of his video tell a narrative of innocence, especially when Dube ventures into a convenient store and the shopkeeper ends up recognising his image and attempt to alert authority. Furthermore, Dube’s influence can arguably be seen with the overall influence of colour (Dube, 1990). As the launch of his video started with a depiction of a black and white flash back denoting his own cild hood. A comparison can then be made to his rebellious adolescence, because his subtle and maybe unintentional inclusion of his “gang members” wearing bright coloured hats and apparel, so minute that their dark clothes and skin dominate their presence.

Reference list:

Dude, L. (1990) Prisoner. Available: Shanachie Records


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